It’s Spring Break in North Alabama this week. For my little family that means we hop in the car and trek home to Texas to be with our family. Every year about this same time, the women (my grandmother, aunts, sister-in-laws, girl cousins) in my family set aside a weekend to go antiquing and just be together. This year ten of us went along with 2 new baby girls. We enjoy the shopping but that’s not the reason we go. We go because family matters. That’s how we were raised.
Often when my larger, extended family gets together we spend a set apart time discussing and recognizing the gift we have in our family. In a sense, we are appreciating the legacy left by our ancestors. We know that not every family functions or has what we have. We’re not a perfect family…not even close. But, we do have a legacy left that we can choose to walk in that honored God.
The longer I live and the more people and families I work with, I am reminded of the verse in Genesis.
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.–Genesis 17:7
God is speaking to Abraham about his family and the way He will interact with the generations to come. These verses are to be read literally as God was speaking to Abraham. But there is something to be taken away for our families today. The way we choose to live, to act and to interact with God will impact the generations to come, just as the way our ancestors lived, acted and interacted with God has affected our generation.
You may not have a heritage of people who loved God and lived lives to honor God. You may have experienced firsthand the consequences of generations ahead of you living lives that dishonored God. Exodus 20:5 may be a real reality for you.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,–Exodus 20:5
You may have lived the consequences of sin from your parents or grandparents. But, the generational curse doesn’t have to continue with you. In Christ you are no longer bound by your past or the pasts of your ancestors. There is freedom in Christ. (Galatians 5:1) You can impact the course of history for your descendants by choosing freedom…by choosing a life lived to honor God and speaking words of truth and life into your children.
The same is true for those that have come from families that loved God. Your choice to continue that legacy will impact the generations to follow. Your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are the beneficiaries of your choice to follow Christ and speak truth into their lives.
I’m not suggesting this is an easy path for either side. Raising God-followers in our corrupt world is hard. Just as it is hard to live in a depraved world ourselves. A life lived for Christ is never easy, but it is always wrought with purpose and Kingdom-impact.
Let me suggest a few ways you can impact your children (young or old) for the Kingdom.
1. Set the bar high. Explain to your children that they are “children of the King”, heirs of the throne, royalty. Because of that there is a great responsibility and purpose waiting to unfold in them. We don’t watch the same things, speak the same way or do the same activities as the world. We’re set apart for something higher. Set that same bar for yourself. The greatest teacher is the example you live. I heard someone say once, “Instead of making your goal godly children, be a godly parent.”
2. Be Their Cheerleader. You may not see eye-to-eye with those in your family, but those people aren’t in your life on accident, and I’m certain it isn’t to tear them down. Speak words of support, encouragement and praise. Make sure your family knows you are in their corner. I recently read these words,
No matter where your children take you, always be their advocate. You don’t have to condone their behavior or compromise God’s standards, but you can be for him. You can be for her. There might be times when you are the only one who believes in them.
3. Take it easy. It won’t all go perfectly in your family and with you children. You will make mistakes and they will make mistakes, but ultimately you all belong to Him. He’s got it all under control. God’s purposes prevail when we take Him at His Word; when we trust Him, obey Him, and cling to Him. God will take care of our kids and our families.
Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.–Psalm 144:12
Family is hard work and more often than not we see families fail because Satan understands how important the family is to the generations to come but we don’t. Choose today to make a Kingdom-difference for your family for generations to come because family matters.
Question: How have you seen or experienced the difference a family makes when it comes to faith and the impact on future generations?